I’m a homeschooling parent. Here are four ways my summer is likely different from yours.
Doing Algebra Poolside
For my family, school continues year-round. We don’t have an official “last day” in June, nor do we have an official “first day” in September. We keep going. This horrifies many people. “Your children NEED a vacation,” decry some skeptics. “That is not a humane way to live,” is the accusation. By continuing academics throughout the summer, I send two important messages to my children. The first is that learning is an important daily task, and not limited to a classroom. The second is that small actions, consistently done, yield progress. We don’t spend eight hours a day sitting at a desk. But, I do pack the algebra textbook when I take my younger children to their swim team practice. That way, while my older child waits for her turn to swim, she has an impactful nugget of review of conjugate radical expressions.
Rather than spending the summer on the road, we spend it at home. When we have the rest of the year to travel, why go to tourist spots when they are crowded? The beauty of homeschooling is getting to choose vacation times based on good weather and convenience, not the school schedule. By being at home in the summer, my children can find meaningful work opportunities in our community and build friendships.
No TV and No Video Games
Playtime is intentionally low-tech at my house. Not all homeschoolers agree on this, but for me, homeschooling means pausing to unplug and be offline. My children play with their siblings and their imagination. We invite buddies. We take adventures outside. One of the primary reasons we homeschool is to give my children downtime and the luxury of old-fashioned play.
Time for Introspection
Homeschoolers have the privilege and responsibility of setting their own goals. There is no oversight committee, no supervisor, no principal. We choose the subjects and their time frame. In order to keep ourselves in line with my objectives, we have a habit of daily record keeping. We track the use of our time and think through our priorities. We recalibrate as needed. This keeps us from feeling like the summer whizzes by.
Consider Parenting Like a Homeschooler
Even if you aren’t a homeschooler, try adopting one of these strategies and see how it changes up your summer. Review the times tables over breakfast. Play a game that involves mental math. Practice spelling while you wash up the dishes. Linger at home. Structure your time so that imagination is encouraged. Go outside and watch the fireflies. Avoid turning to digital devices. Above all, pause at the end of the day and reflect. You can make your summer exactly what you’d like it to be.